In Tolkien’s original novel, Radagast is only mentioned, once but the trilogy of movies will expand the role. Writer/producer Philippa Boyens told USA Today that she think he will become a fan favourite.
“He’s not at all like Gandalf,” Boyens says. “There’s a power and danger and sharpness and wits and cunning even about Gandalf that you sense immediately, whereas Radagast is much quieter and gentler. You could mistakenly think he’s not even a wizard or that he might not have any powers of his own, and then you discover that he does.”
In the book, we learn Radagast’s power is linked with nature. He can speak the many tongues of birds and is a “master of shapes and changes of hue”. Gandalf, who refers to him as a “cousin” in the novel, also describes him as “never a traveller, unless driven by great need” and “a worthy Wizard”.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey arrives in theatres on December 14, 2012.